How about a solar powered passenger plane ?

Hi everybody !

I have been working on this for few weeks...and for the smaller plane for 4.5 years.

I figure a streamlined very lite BWB aircraft could do it..with 257 m2 of solarpanel area and 44 souls on board of which 40 people ( the passengers ) pedal for the pressurization.

Best rates the NASA has been able to absorb energy is 20% ( 200-250 watts/m2 ). Pedalling brings about 30 hp ( max ) more.

Take off and climb to 40 000 ft would take place by using precharged batteries ( about 180 kW ).

Plane sports around 50 to 1 C/L...and best range about 2000 km. It will not fly at nite but uses constantly all the energy the panels will create during the daylite ( 8-10 hours ).

Vne is at 300 km/h and cruise at 100-130 mph.

Aspect ratio is around 20 for the wing...prop disc area 11.3 m2. Span is little more than the late Boeing 747 has at 65 meters.

Construction is superlite composite ( foam-plywood-carbonfibre ). Empty weight without batteries 1150 kilos. Loaded/unloaded ratio is around 4 ( same as the Voyager ).

I am interested from any college or university in UK to work on this with me on the construction..preferably in southern England, but all aviation specialised colleges are in my interest. I am an architect by profession...I have a pretty good idea how the details and construction overall will look like..as I do about the aerodynamics of this blended wing body design.

Any interest on this kinda flyer ?


rgds,

Juke
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topspeed

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For your reference;

http://www.twitt.org/bldwing.htm#top

Blended Wing Bodies !

http://www.up-ship.com/eAPR/ev1n3.htm

Video of a model flying; http://aero.stanford.edu/BWB.mov

Locheed CL-1201-1-1 design was 1180+ ft in span !

BWBs work as good platform for solar powered passenger aeroplane since they have lots area.

Isn't it amazing that Solar Impuls in only using 21 % of the capacity it could use for flying ( see it stores capacity into batteries during daytime).

http://www.solarimpulse.com/en/

Solar Impuls has 8kg/m2 wing loading and moves at over 70km/h at 38 000 ft ( twice the speed of the same out put human powered aeroplanes ).
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topspeed

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Span increase to 80+ meters !

Very quiet now...any comments ?

It has now 64 people designed in and effective AR is 30:1 ( l/d at 50:1 - 60:1 ).

I figured it has same power to weight ratio at altitude as did the Wren in Lympne Trials in 1924. About 5 x better than Solar Impuls at 12 000 meters.

Pedallers ( 50 ) do the atmosphere and sun takes care of the speed at very thin air ( 1/4 th of the thicknes at sea level ). In optimised conditions it might hit 400 km/h..I know this sounds almost absurd. Batteries take it first into the altitude.

It has 1/23 space for the folks compared to 747 and they are packed in 4x tighter than in a regular jet airliner..this would be the largest spanning airliner ever ( Hercules is bigger ).

Wingloading 19 kg/m2 and mass 5900 kg. It is feather lite. Made of carbon, ply and foam.

I have concentrated on "weak powered flight" since 2007..so this actually did not come that sudden to me.

--

My late greetings and congratulations to her royal highness Queen Elisabeth II ..if she reads this !!! You are great and remind me of my aunt in Kauhava !
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aeronut 2008

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You might like to contact QinetiQ at Farnborough who with their Zephyr UAV hold the world record for endurance using solar/battery power with 14 days airborne.
Zephyr may look like an overlarge model but it pushed many technical boundaries.
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topspeed

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You might like to contact QinetiQ at Farnborough who with their Zephyr UAV hold the world record for endurance using solar/battery power with 14 days airborne.
Zephyr may look like an overlarge model but it pushed many technical boundaries.


Sounds as if they are busy with something else..this idea of 400-500 km/h flying solar/muscle powered high flyer did dot interest them at all.

I bet trying to promote this will be like Jules Verne making books about flying some century and half ago...there were only balloons back then.
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topspeed

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Here is latest developement on this !

From my blog.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rgVUrVcy8mA/UQfLfMZ8NQI/AAAAAAAAB5I/I3bDazJ8q1I/s1600/albatross_projekti2.jpg

garryrussell

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How does it fly at night?
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topspeed

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This can only maintain decent speed from period 08:00 - 16:00, but since it takes few hours to decent from 25 000 meters untill 18:00-20:00 in the evening.

It is big drawback..but it is free energy all the time !

Paul F

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Hi Topspeed,

I have not checked the calculations, but assuming they are correct, it may work, but I am not sure it will serve any useful purpose other than proving it can be done?

To travel 2000km(1200miles) will take 10 hours at 120mph, much of which time will be spent at an altitude where the "passengers" have to pedal to power the pressurisation system. I doubt many regular pasengers can sustain that level of physical effort for such a long period without access to energy (food) and fluid (water). So you need to factor in the weight of carrying sufficient of those two components too. You may need to factor in a degree of spare man-power capacity to allow a series of rest periods, at which point the unproductive, resting, passsengers become dead weight until they return to "cycling" mode.

The passengers are packed tightly together, so the heat energy, moisture and CO2 they exhale will make the "cabin" very unpleasant, if not intolerable, unless the "dirty air" is replaced with fresh air far more often per hour than we see in a typical airliner.

So, Mathematically possible?... possibly.

Technically possible? ...maybe

Commercially viable? .... seems highly unlikely to me.

Even if the passengers were to be the top 40 or so riders from the Tour de France I am not sure it would be anything more than an academic exercise to prove the maths behind the concept were correct.


But 100 years ago no-one believed it was possible to fly non-stop around the world, so maybe one day we will all happily pedal ourselves off on our summer holidays in the sunshine.

Paul F
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topspeed

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Hi Paul F !

Yes you are correct. The average room per passenger and luggage has been cut down to 1/8 of the similar space in Boeing 747...almost no luggage and 1/4 room in the passenger side. There is a good side too..other vise it could be really cold up in 20-25 km. Everyone closer together would make the place heat up a bit.

At this stage when there is still some oil left this is practically useless for business. But who knows and if I am no longer around this could be resurrected in 2040-2050 ?

rgds,

Juke
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topspeed

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I tried under the university law to switch field to study construction for this in Helsinki TTK ( Teknillinen korkeakoulu ), but they saw it impossible for me to do doctorate on aeroplane construction with architect background.
It would have been possible in Brazil, but I have very little portuguese abilities.